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Delay Forecast for Infrastructure Plan

Friday, January 6, 2017

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The infrastructure plan promised by President-elect Donald J. Trump likely won’t come to fruition during his first 100 days in office, Congressional leaders say—but figuring out how to pay for it will be an early priority.

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said Wednesday (Jan. 4) that the rollout of a major infrastructure package would likely come in the late spring or later, after Congress irons out a funding strategy.

President-elect Donald J. Trump
A. Shaker / VOA, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

After his election, President-elect Donald J. Trump said that infrastructure improvement is "not the core" of his agenda, but held that he still has plans for "a very large-scale infrastructure bill."

“We’re going to start to work on it, but first of all, you’ve got to figure out the pay-fors, which will come, I believe, in the first 100 days,” Shuster told reporters. “Then in the next second 100 days is when we’ll put together a big infrastructure package.”

Prior to his election, Trump had included the proposed $1 trillion plan for improving America’s infrastructure among his top “first 100 days” priorities. Questions about how the mammoth effort will be funded, and even how it will define “infrastructure,” will need to be sorted out before the plan goes forward, though.

Methods of Funding

Several methods of paying for the big investment have been discussed. One uses tax credits to encourage private investors to fund the infrastructure projects. While that method—essentially a stimulus package for infrastructure investment—is seen as a way to leverage private investment at no ultimate cost to the government, critics say it might be far-fetched.

Rep. Bill Shuster

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) said Wednesday that he expects an infrastructure bill to come in the "second 100 days" of the new administration.

“A program of tax credits isn’t going to get the job done, no matter how large,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Senate Minority Leader, said Tuesday (Jan. 3). "We need significant, direct spending. How does the President-elect plan to get that done?"

Some analysts have said that Trump might propose using billions raised via a one-time tax on American companies’ foreign holdings to help fund the infrastructure plan. Trump advisors have also reportedly not ruled out the idea of an infrastructure bank, an idea that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had put forth, and one that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has introduced in that country.

'It's Not the Core'

In his post-election interview with The New York Times, Trump said that while infrastructure improvement was part of his agenda, “it’s not the core,” and noted that “I’m doing things that are more important than infrastructure.” Still, Trump said, “We’re talking about a very large-scale infrastructure bill.”


Tagged categories: Funding; Government; Infrastructure; Taxes

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